Friday, March 28, 2014

Truths Learned from Harry Potter

You may or may not have heard of a little book series called Harry Potter. Oh, you have? Great. To celebrate my own relationship with the boy who lived, which began at the tender age of twelve way back in 1998, I've complied a list of truths I've learned from the wizarding world.

At first glance, Harry Potter is the story of a lonely, unloved boy whose world is turned upside down upon discovering he is a wizard (and a thumpen’ good one at that) when he receives an acceptance letter to Hogwarts, a prominent wizard academy. With the help of his friends, his mentor Dumbledore, and a lot of magic, Harry fights against the evil that killed his parents, and terrorizes the wizarding world.

But Harry Potter is more than just an epic tale of good and evil. There are some serious life lessons that even us muggles can take away and apply to our everyday lives.

Love is magic: Sure it’s cheesy, but this is one of the central themes of the series. Harry’s life was saved and subsequently protected when his mother sacrifices her life for his. Harry’s capacity for love proved to be a powerful weapon and one could argue that Voldermort’s apathy was his undoing. When we really sit down and consider the most important things in our life, we realize that our greatest treasures are those we love, and those who love us back. Love motivates us to protect, survive, thrive, surrender, and everything else imaginable.  

You can’t make Snape snap judgments: Severus Snape was an unlikely hero, and a fine example of how we should never judge a book by its greasy, hooked nose cover. Sure, he was never a lovable guy, but when his back story was finally revealed we all kind of felt guilty for hating him so vehemently for seven books. When we come to know the heart of the people around us, we may come to realize our criticisms are harsh and unfounded.

"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." This gem of a quote comes from none other than movie version Albus Dumbledore. Throughout the series, our heroes and heroines are faced with unimaginable hardships, but they never cease to find opportunities to laugh and find joy with each other. Sometimes we fail to realize that we can have our own happiness if we just chose to recognize it.  

“To thine own self be true.” No, that’s not Rowling, it's Shakespeare. But it’s applicable. Sure, we were all frustrated through most of the 870 pages of Order of the Phoenix when almost everyone rejected Harry’s proclamation that Voldemort had returned, but he never wavered from what he knew to be true.  Not even when he was forced to write “I must not tell lies” with a magical quill and parchment which carved the words into the back of his hand. There's an old saying that states, “Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” Be true to your beliefs, and you won’t regret it.

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” This is from book Dumbledore and I agree wholeheartedly. Although there are things that happen to us, beyond our control, our everyday choices be it action or attitude, reveal the quality of our character. Sure, Voldemort was one of the most skilled wizards of all time, but the atrocities he committed were far more telling of who he was than his abilities. The same is true for each of us, and when our choices (our actions, our words) reveal our hearts. I love how Sirius puts it: “If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."

"Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have." I add this for my own personal pleasure, because at times I feel like I am Hermione, in a world full of Rons. Being sensitive and empathetic to those around us creates harmony in our relationships. 

What are some of the truths you've learned while reading Harry Potter?

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